LISTEN | ‘City Power is open for business’: Joburg hosts its first Energy Indaba

The Joburg Energy Indaba opened on Monday

23 May 2022 - 13:55
By Alex Patrick
Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse opened the first Energy Indaba at the Sandton Convention Centre on Monday.
Image: Alex Patrick Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse opened the first Energy Indaba at the Sandton Convention Centre on Monday.

Johannesburg executive mayor Mpho Phalatse said R26bn is needed to help fix City Power’s infrastructure, but the entire capital budget is R7.7bn, which includes not only electricity but other infrastructure such as water and roads. 

“There is no way the city alone can turn around the energy problems in Johannesburg.”

She was speaking at the first Joburg Energy Indaba on Monday. 

The event will continue into Tuesday and serves as the city’s SOS for energy experts to help it with solutions and innovation that will keep the lights on in the country’s economic hub during the ongoing energy crisis.

LISTEN |  ‘City Power is open for business’: Joburg hosts its first Energy Indaba

Phalatse said in her opening speech Eskom has over the past few days “subjected” the country to stage 2 load-shedding daily between 5pm and 10pm.

She said in 2020 the amount of electricity produced by the flailing entity fell below the level produced in 2004. 

“I do not have to remind you of the tariff increases that have been imposed on the end-user, and it is well-established that Eskom’s price path is not sustainable for the end-user.

“This has a devastating impact on our plans as a city because without cost-effective and reliable power, our city economy is unable to realise its true potential.”

The mayor said for the city to meet the necessary requirements in the shortest possible time, a collaboration was needed.

“Hence private-public partnerships are seen as the most feasible way forward. This is in keeping with our fourth priority for a business-friendly city.

“The power sector generally, including embedded generation, energy storage and smart grids, could leverage huge investment in our city and enable us to create the jobs we desperately need.”

She said the following energy options were under consideration:

  • Gas and associated infrastructure — The city is working to build infrastructure in anticipation of the gas market. They want gas to displace the use of electricity for cooking and space heating.
  • Renewables, including solar — The city has been advised to be proactive in providing alternative energy solutions. This includes adopting storage technologies based on battery systems or other options. Small-scale embedded generation through biomass, biogas and municipal waste are areas holding great potential for creating a circular economy around waste management.
  • Hydrogen economy — SA has all the requisite primary energy sources for a  hydrogen economy, including an abundance of platinum and other catalysts necessary for hydrogen fuel cell development.
  • Smart grids — City Power has started rolling out smart meters as part of a platform for smart grid systems. For a balanced and safe interconnected power system to be operated sustainably, intermittent power generators have to be integrated and controlled through smart technologies that allow power to flow bi-directionally between a generator and a load.

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